Predictors of Mortality among TB-HIV Co-infected Patients Being Treated for Tuberculosis in Northwest Ethiopia: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Journal Article
  • Balewgizie Sileshi
  • Nigussie Deyessa
  • Belaineh Girma
  • Muluken Melese
  • Pedro Suarez
BMC Infectious Diseases
1 July 2013, 13:297. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-13-297.
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Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of mortality in high HIV-prevalence populations. HIV is driving the TB epidemic in many countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim of this study was to assess predictors of mortality among TB-HIV co-infected patients being treated for TB in Northwest Ethiopia.


An institution-based retrospective cohort study was conducted between April, 2009 and January, 2012. Based on TB, antiretroviral therapy (ART), and pre-ART registration records, TB-HIV co-infected patients were categorized into “On ART” and “Non-ART” cohorts. A Chi-square test and a T-test were used to compare categorical and continuous variables between the two groups, respectively. A Kaplan-Meier test was used to estimate the probability of death after TB diagnosis. A log-rank test was used to compare overall mortality between the two groups. A Cox proportional hazard model was used to determine factors associated with death after TB diagnosis.


A total of 422 TB-HIV co-infected patients (i.e., 272 On ART and 150 Non-ART patients) were included for a median of 197 days. The inter-quartile range (IQR) for On ART patients was 140 to 221 days and the IQR for Non-ART patients was 65.5 to 209.5 days. In the Non-ART cohort, more TB-HIV co-infected patients died during TB treatment: 44 (29.3%) Non-ART patients died, as compared to 49 (18%) On ART patients died. Independent predictors of mortality during TB treatment included: receiving ART (Adjusted Hazard Ratio (AHR) =0.35 [0.19-0.64]); not having initiated cotrimoxazole prophylactic therapy (CPT) (AHR = 3.03 [1.58-5.79]); being ambulatory (AHR = 2.10 [1.22-3.62]); CD4 counts category being 0-75cells/micro liter, 75-150cells/micro liter, or 150-250cells/micro liter (AHR = 4.83 [1.98-11.77], 3.57 [1.48-8.61], and 3.07 [1.33-7.07], respectively); and treatment in a hospital (AHR = 2.64 [1.51-4.62]).


Despite the availability of free ART from health institutions in Northwest Ethiopia, mortality was high among TB-HIV co-infected patients, and strongly associated with the absence of ART during TB treatment. In addition cotrimoxazole prophylactic therapy remained important factor in reduction of mortality during TB treatment. The study also noted importance of early ART even at higher CD4 counts.